“My Soul is from Elsewhere”

“All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
And I intend to end up there…”

 

I’ve spent more time than usual over the past few weeks reminiscing about the gap year I took during college. My life right now feels so stable in a way that it hasn’t since high school: I’ve been working (relatively) the same job since I graduated ~2.5 years ago, I’ve been living in the same house (and paying the same price in rent, thanks to my wonderful landlords!), and have been married to the same man (phew!), so my hypothesis is that these thoughts are a subconscious reaction to this weird stability. I don’t use the word “stability” in the negative sense by any stretch of the imagination: all of its contributing factors are amazing and I feel so grateful for each of them every day. Anyone who knows me knows that stability, and by extension routine, have generally positive impacts on my overall wellbeing.

But something I loved about traveling that year was the feeling of freedom it gave me. I don’t mean the feeling of freedom I’d necessarily have in any given moment (though it was exhilarating to stand in a new city, know absolutely no one, and have no plan), but the feeling that at any moment I could change the direction of my life entirely without serious consequence. This is of course a dramatic and hyperbolized feeling, since any action I took would have consequence, so maybe a better way to describe how I felt in those moments was “unattached”: I had no attachments to any person, place, or job. The decisions I made could be selfish and impetuous; as long as I wasn’t harming anyone else, I was free to do whatever I wanted. I can’t deny it scares me that I’m now bound to so many people, places, and obligations, though my guess is that it’s stemming less from a desire for “freedom” and more from a fear of letting those people and obligations down. (Upon further reflection, I seem to be describing a fear of responsibility… guess I’m an adult now, ha!)

Anyway- I went back and read some of the writing I did during my travels, and stumbled upon a few of my favorite photos from a remote bay in Thailand. My art skills still leave a lot to be desired, but I attempted to capture just a fraction of the emotion I felt surrounded by this landscape that evening:

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I wrote in my journal (almost four years ago today!) and included some more photos of the village:

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Pretty wild how life changes so quickly. When I think about everything that’s happened between then and now… well, I’m pretty sure 2015 Maddy would never have expected a lot of what was to come. I started this entry with one of my favorite stanzas from a translated Rumi poem, which I will now read in its entirety before bed…

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